Establishing Support Systems
If you have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it is natural for you and your family to experience a wide range of emotions. These may include anger and fear, as well as confusion and sadness. You should realize that every person is unique, and that there is no right or wrong way to feel about your diagnosis. Importantly, you don’t have to go through this difficult time alone. Some people with cancer find that speaking to other individuals with cancer is helpful, whereas others may prefer to speak with family members, a professional counselor, and/or member of the religious clergy. Your health care team can assist you in finding the right resources to help you manage the many emotions you may be experiencing. In addition to questions about how your disease will affect you personally, you may also want to know how your cancer diagnosis will affect your family and still have other concerns pertaining to finances or insurance issues. A comprehensive discussion and list of advocacy resources can be found in the “Advocacy” section. You should keep in mind, too, that your health care team of physicians, nurses, and social workers could also be an excellent resource for information and support.
Many patients find that connecting with other cancer survivors can be very helpful in their journey. There are several organizations that match patients with cancer survivors with similar backgrounds who can offer advice and support.
Two such programs are the 4th Angel Network and Imerman Angels:
The 4th Angel Network
The 4th Angel Program matches patients with a cancer survivor of a similar background and age who can offer advice and support. They also offer a services for a caregiver to be matched with a mentor. Anyone with cancer can be brought together with a mentor. Once a match is made, the mentor will then set up a phone or e-mail correspondence with the patient.
Imerman Angels partners anyone seeking cancer support with someone who has beaten the same type of cancer. These one-on-one relationships give a cancer fighter or caregiver the chance to ask personal questions and get support from someone who has been there before.